the active ingredient in most skin bleaching creams. Hydroquinone inhibits the production of skin pigmentation without causing permanent damage to the cells that produce the pigment. Chemical peels can produce the same effect but create some degree of permanent damage to the cells. Since there is no permanent damage stopping the hydroquinone results in the eventual return of pigmentation. Low concentrations of hydroquinone are present in over the counter cosmetics. Higher concentration applications can only be obtained by a doctor’s prescription in the United States. In cases of resistant pigmentation Retin-A and steroids are also applied to lighten skin color.